Kickstarter and comics, maybe not such a good idea?

Or prepare to wait and wait and wait…


As a comic fan and sometime collector I was intrigued with the idea of helping a creator get a book out and in turn maybe get a true collectible in return for my upfront cash.  I still like the first part of the equation but I am skeptical of the second.  I have supported a total of 5 projects over the past two years and I have yet to receive anything other than two .pdf files.  Not a book in sight.  Oh I have had plenty of reading material, with numerous email updates and survey questions.  I have seen pictures of pallets and listened to .mp3’s but still no comic (or book) to open and read.


I have heard of Kickstarter projects that have gone off, but that hasn’t been my experience.  I would have expected that at least one of the projects I funded would have printed and shipped by now.  So as a viable funding option I don’t see how this model can survive long term with the comics crowd.  Crowd sourcing does put it out there that it may be a long wait and there is the risk of no product at all, but even crowds need a payoff every now and then.  Slot machines will keep you playing for a while before taking all your money in the long run.

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I now see Kickstarter comics as a vanity outlet.  Now if you have reason for vanity then it should work fine but I have stopped looking over there for comic content.  Maybe there is a reason publishers don’t put out every book that is suggested or pitched.  Even those that have creator heart and soul still need a way to get into the hands of fans or customers otherwise it’s just art.  Nothing wrong with art mind you but keep it off Kickstarter and put it in the gallery.

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What am I talking about?  If I haven’t received any books how can I say whether they are art or commerce or anything at all for that matter?  I can’t and that’s my point, I am upset because I keep seeing progress charts and pictures of books but nothing in my mailbox.  I can tell you how crisp the pictures of the books are and how happy the packers look.  I can tell you how weird the music is since I have no frame of reference since I haven’t seen the book.  I can tell you about my cool .pdf file that I read so long ago that I can’t remember it when the second part of the story came out.  This is my story and all claims are true.  I have left out the names of the projects since my gripe is actually with the model and execution of Kickstarter not the individual creators, or maybe it is with the creators too since I keep reading about how they are learning about the print, pack and ship part of the business.  Do they all have to go through this learning curve?  Doesn’t anyone read any of the other updates?  Anyways it’s just one man’s experience.  What’s your Kickstarter story?


I have been buying and collecting comics for over 40 years. I am a life long Spider-Man fan who lives in San Francisco with my wife and daughter. I periodically contribute to the Pittsburgh Comics Podcast, the ACME Comics Podcast, and Comic Geek Speak. My work as a consultant allows me to visit comic shops all around the world.

2 Responses.

  1. Nick says:

    I’ve heard stories like yours more and more, Sean. I haven’t had the same experience as you but I’ve only backed a few comics. I’ve backed movies, albums, apps, a cartoon, a music video, and inventions and have received what I was owed. That said, I have three projects that I have backed recently end so we’ll see. I am pretty confident those will turn out.

    I guess what you are looking for is a way to protest someone not fulfilling their promises. I think that reform is needed too. I recently bough a book about Kickstarter and it’s full of examples of those who have done it right and those who have abused it. I think a level of real research is in order before you put down any real money.

    How much have you put towards any given project?

    Here’s my example of a active Kickstarter that is doing it all right –

  2. Of course today I received my first Kickstarter backed book(s). They are gorgeous and they were well packed, so in the spirit of fair play I rescind 20% of my rant.


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